The final weekend of Division 1 games in 2021 was a smaller slate. Only three games involved teams from the Cosmopolitan Soccer League's top tier and two of them were one-sided blowouts. However, one game between two teams at opposite ends of the table turned into a near miraculus comeback for the lower table side.
Full recap below:
Sunday, December 19
Beyond FC vs Kelmendi FC NY (1-9)
No goal scorer information provided by either team
Beyond FC finished 2021 with it’s second worst defeat of the season thus far. Kelmendi FC NY scored nine goals on the New Jersey side and cruised to a 9-1 win on Sunday afternoon. The win is big for the visitors who now have a five point cushion between themselves and the eleventh place Stal Mielec NY. Staying out of the relegation zone is the goal going forward for many of the teams sitting at or below ninth place.
Beyond’s finishes the fall winless and with -3 points after a forfeit. The team will look to regroup for the Spring.
Manhattan Kickers vs Richmond County FC (3-4)
(Match highlights by Game in Frame)
Despite half a table sitting between Manhattan Kickers and Richmond County FC the two sides played a back and forth match. Richmond’s four goals in the first twenty five minutes might have signaled a rout but the Kickers fought back. Two unanswered scores made for a competitive second half but the comeback fell short, 4-3.
The win moved Richmond (28 pts) into first place ahead of Hoboken FC 1912 (27 pts). Head coach Halid Brkanovic said afterwards that the result is exactly what the group needed heading into 2022.
“We're happy to leave Randall's with three points and go into the winter break in sole position of first place,” said Brkanovic. “Kickers did a great job of getting back into the game and nearly snatched an equalizer in the final minutes.”
Bljedi Bardic and Ady Gaye lead their team to the victory with two goals each. An unassisted score from the former New York Cosmos player in the 5th minute put his team up early. Five minutes later, Gaye gave the team the lead again off an assist from Bardic. In the 19th minute, a chaotic scene in the Kickers’ box resulted in a poor clearance attempt. Peter Zima recovered just outside the box and fed Bardic, who slammed in his team’s third score from the left side. The ultimate game-winner came five minutes later when a goal kick found Bardic at midfield, who fed an open Gaye. A long run, under-pressure, resulted in a one-on-one chance with the keeper who failed to keep the low shot out of the back netting.
That early stretch, minus a tying goal from Brian Morris early on, was disastrous for Manhattan. Head coach Bryan Baracaldo knows his team can play better but still gave credit to Richmond for not capitalizing for the whole stretch. However, his group rebounded in the final 70 minutes and kept the now first place team from scoring again.
Morris scored a second goal and Sharifullah Mayan knocked in a header off a set-piece just outside the box. This was also the second game of the season where the Kickers shut their opposition down in the second half.
“We're not happy where we stand but our guys won't forget this loss to the now first place team, who we outplayed when we got our act together,” Baracaldo explained after the game.
Borgetto FC vs FC Sandžak (6-0)
After only winning once in it’s last three contests, Borgetto FC defeated FC Sandzak, 6-0, to close out the Fall. The team was already secured in third place heading into the break. Sandzak will open the spring tied with Polonia SC at 14 points (the Polish side has the tie-breaker for seventh place).
Miguel Chung notched a hat-trick by scoring Borgetto’s third, fifth, and sixth goals. Steven Fernandez, Alexis Santa, and Lucas Arzan all assisted on one of the respective goals. Not to be outdone fully, Arzan also scored two goals during the match which were also assisted by Santa and Fernandez. The second goal was scored by Santa and assisted by Jonathan Figueroa.
The defending Division 2 champions have been a top contender in their inaugural season in the top tier. Two of the three losses on it’s record are courtesy of the teams currently sitting first and second on the table. With another half a season to play Borgetto may have a run to first place on the cards if they can avenge those defeats.